Comment spammers are on the loose again, coming up with more inventive ways to distract us from their spamming comments, while they think they are increasing their page rank in search engines by forcing you to link to their websites with their comment spam links.
I need to make this really clear, to you and all comment spammers. If you are targeting WordPress blogs, your tricks will not work. Even if the comment spam gets through, it still won’t work.
WordPress uses the NOFOLLOW tag in all links found in comments. A link would automatically look like this:
<a href="http://blah.com/sellingsomething.html" rel="nofollow">casino gambling</a>
Instantly, the link has no meaning. Search engines won’t follow it, in fact, they don’t pay attention to it because they’ve been instructed to ignore it. Comment spamming in WordPress doesn’t work. So stop it.
Comment spammers aren’t listening, but you are. So pay close attention.
Beating New Comment Spam
WordPress has a variety of tools to stop comment spam in its tracks, and I’ve talked about these a lot (see links below). Still, part of the job of maintaining a blog and website is to monitor your comments for those criminal comment spams that manage to slip through.
Lately, comment spammers have turned to storytelling and comments that sound like they may apply. I’ve seen comments like these:
- I really like your blog. I’ve bookmarked it as a favorite.
- This is really helpful information. Thank you for sharing it.
- This really helped me with my problem on my computer. Thank you.
- Your advice solved my problem.
- Sally told me that Fred might know more about casino gambling, but he didn’t so I thought I’d check your site.
Now, a new group of comment spam has come in that, again, sounds “right” but isn’t.
- Hi, is there a way to receive your blog feed in my daily email? Sarah in Raleigh.
- Do you provide a blog feed subscription for this blog so I can get it via email?
- Hi. Images are not loading.
- Hi, super blog. I am trying to start my own blog on avian business continuity flu.What type of software do you use? Is there a ton of maintenance that goes along with it?. Thanks again, ISSAC
- Hello, very cool posts here. I am trying to start my own blog on hard disk data recovery.How long has your blog been up? Do you have to make many changes to it ongoing?. A New Starter, OSVALDO
- Tell, and here at you always so?
- Your site is the best. I love your humour, layout, design and everything!
- You have an excellent site easy on the eye and very easy to navigate, keep up the good work. Best Wishes.
- Thank you for being generous with your resources… I hope that you will receive more than you need for your time and
energy. Keep at work!
- Excellent point of view. I wish there were more comments like this. I must say this is one of the betters sites I have come across –Regard, Nick
- This is perfect template blog. I am have a built a url and need to theme it based on business continuity industry plan theater. Are blogs hard to install? If I want to add one to my site is it free?. Much appreciated, WHITNEY
- Hi, nice blog how long has it been up? I never installed blog software and need to for my theme on disaster recovery storage cost.Can I add a link on my website that goes to sub page that has my blog installed on it? Then this link will be on web page navi panel?. Thanks for your time, MATTHEW
- Hello, I am creating a website based on data processing services disaster recovery.Can you tell me where to get the blog software you have? Is is a ton of money?. Just starting out, JULES
- Hi! And what became with others?
- Wow, cool site.. I am creating a website based on backup tape.Should I add a blog too or just keep my website? Do you have both?. Thanks for response, SAMUEL
- Great site! I do agree with the majority of these statements too :0) I have been visiting tons of blogs to get some ideas for myself. Again great job, Mick
- hi! I am Theresa, from Spain, and for my school I am doing a research on blogging on the internet. May I show this to my teacher and class on thursday? Thanks, Theresa, 16 years, Barcelona.
- This is perfect template blog. I am have a built a url and need to theme it based on tape backup media. I tried install a blog and it went bad. Do you have any tips on installing?. A New Starter, DEVON
- Nice work, your blog is excellent. I was searching the internet for some info about learning management systems and I somehow ended up on your blog. Although your site is not exactly related to my search, I am certainly glad I stopped by. Oh well, back to surfing and I am sure I will find what I am looking for, and should you ever need information in this area, then stop by for a look. Thanks for the post.
- Hi, my name is Molly and I wanted to say thank you! Your article here helped me in my homework and wanted you to know it. I was searching for info about royalty free stock photography and I somehow ended up on your blog. Tomorrow my teacher is going to get a very good homework done! I wish we can keep in touch, thank you again.
- Hi, I think you are totally right. Great! – :) Susan.
They sound official. They sound right. They sound legit. I really love the 16 year old from Barcelona. Makes me feel so proud until I see 17 duplicates from the little 16 year old student covering 17 different posts all offering porn, computers, rentals, and time waster links. They are scum-sucking comment spammers.
Here is the method to verify if your comments are scum-sucking comment spammers or legitimate fans.
- Read the Comment: It may sound odd, but really read it. Is it proper English? Grammatically near to correct? What is it really saying? If they write the comment in upper and lower case letters, and the signature in upper case letters, it’s comment spam. Delete it. Does the comment match the content of the post? I’ve found comments about databases, backup tapes, host servers, and computer related topics on a joke I posted about the airline travel industry – totally unrelated comments to the post content. No match? Delete.
- Is the Comment Duplicated? If you see the same comment, as friendly as it seems, on more than one post, then it’s comment spam. Delete it. Comment spammers are getting smarter, so it may be almost the same, with a word or two changed, but definitely close enough to the same comment. Delete it.
- Is One Post Hit Many Times with Comments? Some comment spam bots will post many different but similar comments only on one post. They will hammer that post hoping something will get through. Delete them all.
- Does the Contact Information Match? In the WordPress Manage > Comments panel, check the comment against the email and website information. The comment may say “I like what you’ve done here” but the email and website will be apartments-for-rent.com, which just looks like comment spam websites. Still, compare the information to see if it looks legit. Even if the email address looks legit, and the website might look odd, if they don’t match or are suspicious, delete it.
- Visit the Website: When in doubt, check it out. Visit the linked website and if it ain’t porn or casino gambling or mortgage companies, then maybe its legit. You can usually tell really quick if the linked site is from a legitimate blogger or some spam outfit.
- Lookup the IP for Reported Abuse: You can always look up the IP address of the link to check if it has been reported for abuse and marked as a spammer. IP look up services can be found in my post on Domain Lookup Links.
- When in Doubt, Delete: Honestly, while comments are great fun, if you are in doubt, delete the comment. I’d rather run the risk of losing a nice comment than hosting a link that might invite someone to click and visit a comment spammer’s site. If it looks suspicious, then delete it. If someone comes back and says “Hey, where is my comment”, then apologize and explain that in this day and age, it is better to be careful than sorry later. And ask them to be more specific when posting a comment to let you, and the comment spammer catching tools, know that this isn’t comment spam.
Which brings me to my next point. Are you still paying attention?
Avoiding Capture by the Comment Spam Police
If you comment on a blog, make your comment look like a comment and not comment spam. Don’t just say “thanks, this helped”. Say something more specific.
Lorelle, thank you for the help with putting Technorati and site search tags on my WordPress.com blog. This really helped.
Now, that is a legitimate comment. I know you are talking to me. I know that you have read the post and you are talking about the post’s content. While some comment spammers have been grabbing content from posts and slapping it in their comment spams, you can tell the difference between your content and a legitimate comment.
But remember, if you are commenting to attract incoming links to your blog, forget it. The NOFOLLOW tag may still be in use and the only way you will get credit for such comment links is from people who physically click the link to check you out. So write a great comment and people will probably check you out just to see how brilliant you are.
More Information and Resources on Comment Spam
Here are more articles, information, and resources on comment spam to help you understand what it is, how it works, and how to catch or avoid comment spammers.
- Website Hammered by Hotlinking, Spammers and Free Loaders
- Comments on Comments
- What is Comment Spam
- Hurricane Katrina Comment Spam Assaults Blogs
- A Day in the Life of a Paranoid Website Administrator
- Comment Spam and Viral Marketing – BBS Weblog Watch
- WordPress.com Users Hit By Direct Attack – Comment Spammers Stopped in its Tracks
- Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll Replaced by Sex, Drugs, and Mortgage Rates
- Americans Spend 40 percent of their time online deleting Spam
- Comment Spam Fighter Spam Karma 2.1 Released
- Comment Spammers Getting Smarter – But Not Smart Enough
- Spam: Stupid Pointless Annoying Messages in Emails, Comments, and Everywhere
- The Attack of the Spam-Bots from Hell
- Imprisonment for Annoying People Online